As consumers we have become discerning shoppers. Looking for products and services at the right price, we are prepared to search both online and in-store to find a bargain. So how do you ensure you meet consumer demands?
Think small to be big
It is fair to say that your average smaller retailer will never be able to sell cheaper than the likes of Amazon for example. They can however, sell better. Smaller retailers have the advantage of being able to provide expertise, guidance and knowledge in a way that many other large retailers can't.
In 2014 an estimated 1.14 billion consumers are expected to shop online. Selling through multiple channels, particularly those online, are the key to making a success of your business and competing against larger retailers - so make the most of it! Whilst this does require time dedicated to management, ensuring that inventory, orders and customers are updated and organised, we know that it will prove fruitful.
Turning the tide
Whilst smaller retailers understand the benefits of moving to multichannel retail, the task can sometimes prove a little daunting. This no longer has to be the case. The rise of shopping channel APIs have made it easier than ever for retailers to expand their ecommerce to offer consumers a more fulfilling experience.
Integrating via an API
An API or Application Programming Interface, is a set of standards and instructions that enable different software applications to 'talk' to each other. Providing developers with access to an applications' content in order to feed it to another, most APIs combine content and services to provide retailers and users with new experiences.
Third party APIs are a fantastic way to enhance your online store and improve customer experience. From payment and social applications, to maps, fulfilment and complete back office systems, there are thousands of different APIs to integrate with your ecommerce.
One of the best ways to explain this is to show you:
Take Hootsuite for example. A social media management platform, Hootsuite enables you to access and manage your social profiles from one central program. Eliminating the need to log into different accounts, Hootsuite connects the APIs of Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Linkedin, Foursquare and more to enable you to Tweet and post on your chosen profile.
Why do this? In Hootsuite your can manage multiple profiles and streams at once, enabling your marketing team to manage your social empire. Save time and improve productivity with this invaluable tool.
If you have an ecommerce store that you are looking to expand into a multichannel retail business, why not try an ERP system. A business management solution, an ERP such as Brightpearl or eSellerPro will enable you to connect your ecommerce sales channels and ancillary services. Streamlining your core business processes, ERP integration will enable you to manage all aspects of your multichannel retail from one central location.
Why do this? Managing you multichannel retail can take up time and valuable resources. With a back office ERP all your core workflows are located in one place enabling you to streamline your internal processes whilst improving the customer journey. Integrate with accounting, fulfilment and logistics software to effectively transform your supply chain.
Netmatter: connecting your shopping cart APIs
APIs connect your back end systems and digest the data for your front-end systems. This allows you to turn your small town ecommerce store into a big player online. Great news!
Integrating your open source shopping cart with an API will:
- Open up your services to new distribution channels.
- Create new advertising opportunities with your API provider/developer
- Leverage creative digital technologies to create new service opportunities
"Great, so how much does it cost?"
This is where it's gets tricky; you can't just plug-in a new API and it works. No two APIs are the same and so many will require bespoke API development. Often costing big bucks this sort of web development is not possible for your average retailer.
"I knew there was a catch!"
Wait! Don't be disheartened . Here at Netmatter we have developed our very own Ecommerce Connector. A low cost third party software integration, our connector enables you to integrate your ecommerce with almost any API.
We understand that as a smaller retailer, time and resources are even more valuable, so it is important to integrate with the right software. That is why we developed and built our Ecommerce Connector.
Recommended by Brightpearl and approved eSellerPro partners, we can integrate your multichannel retail with almost any ERP, sales channel and ancillary services. Don't take our word for it; see for yourself how it has worked for a number of retailers.
Holly-Leigh Harvey, Head of Operations at Cabbages & Roses commented: Netmatter were recommended to us by Brightpearl. Ecommerce experts with an extensive knowledge of both Brightpearl and Magento, they were able to provide us with a solution that integrated our third party logistics provider, Clipper and warehouse management software from Priam, with Brightpearl. Synchronising customers, orders, stock and inventory, Netmatter have enabled us to improve efficiency and automate fulfilment of retail via our supply chain.
and another one....
Bill Nikolopoulos, Web Development Manager at The Fold said: Netmatter were referred to us early on in discussions with Brightpearl, they instantly stood out as ecommerce experts and have extensive knowledge of both Brightpearl and our ecommerce software. The solution synchronises customer data, inventory and online sales with our Brightpearl account allowing the business to focus more time on growth.
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